Famed feminist Gloria Steinem condemns tabloid critiques of celebrity bodies because they “devalue their brains and ours,” Us Weekly reports with a totally straight face.
"If our bodies are treated as ornaments instead of instruments, that's because we are rebelling because it's an effort to distract us," she told the magazine at a party. "So don't be distracted. Why bother getting caught up in that?"
Steinem was speaking for women broadly, but Us was asking on behalf of Kim Kardashian, whose pregnancy has caused an avalanche of tabloid coverage and, improbably, sparked a national debate about the treatment of women’s bodies in media.
The writers and celebrities standing up for Kim — yes, with cries of “bullying” — are less worried about objectification on principle than its slow creep into the lives of pregnant women. There, they draw the line. Gwyneth Paltrow said “women should support each other, especially through pregnancy, it’s a difficult time.” Channing Tatum’s wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum, also expecting, tweeted that we should all “be kind to every woman out there who is expecting,” because “it’s a beautiful amazing moment in time and not about vanity.” Model Helena Christensen slammed the media for its “public bullying and attacking of a pregnant woman.” “There should be some moral compass,” she wrote, “No one should be judged for their body, but to attack an expecting mother is sacrilegious and just plain wrong." This double-standard seems like an admission that, for celebrities, a certain amount of objectification is an acceptable cost of doing business. (If only it were an equal cost to men!)
By my count, there are only, like, three disreputable weeklies guilty of “fat-shaming,” which here seems to mean inventing body-anguish stories (“I can’t stop eating!”, “Dumped at 200 Pounds”) to pair with the paparazzi photo-narrative of Kardashian’s changing body. These irrelevant, probably fictional stories would disappear if not for the sympathetic news outlets giving them a megaphone as they rise to Kardashian’s defense. As if they didn't publish the same, unflattering photos as the fat-shamers alongside neutral (but still objectifying) non-stories like “Kim Kardashian Embraces Pregnancy Curves in Flowing Beige Maxi-Dress, Flat Sandals: Picture.” The headline doesn't need to be "OMG look how huge Kim's boobs are getting" to know what you're getting there.
In short, it’s cool that Us talked to Steinem and all, but pregnant and non-pregnant women alike should probably still brace themselves for “bikini body” season.
Most Viewed Stories
Trump Campaign Manager Accidentally Refers to His ‘Abuse’ of Women on Live TV
It’s Finally Possible to Understand What Happened to Amanda Knox
Looks Like Kate Middleton Is Enjoying the View in Canada
Finally Someone Called Donald Trump a Giant Baby and It Was Michelle Obama
The Very Uncomfortable Experience of Rewatching Election in 2016
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna Reportedly Broke Up
Ask a Boss: My Co-worker Wants Everyone to Call Her Boyfriend Her ‘Master’!
Ask Polly: Should I Try to Help My Alcoholic Friend?
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Outrageous Party Photos From Andy Warhol’s Factory Days
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesThe Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.Santigold’s New Video Is the Result of a Spontaneous Run-in With Kara Walker
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Spotted Together Again, Love Might Be Real
They could be back together ahh!Teen, Forced to Go on Vacation With Her Family, Calls 911
The logical decision.Report: Hearst Fired Seventeen EIC Michelle Tan During Her Maternity Leave
Tan had been at the magazine for about two years.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.Miles Teller Is Still Upset About Being Called a Dick
He wants to set the record straight.Why Parents Shouldn’t Talk About Weight With Their Teens
New guidelines seek to banish weight talk.